Nowadays it is conventional to believe that emotional eating is unhealthy, but the truth is that emotions are so strongly mixed into every ingredient of a meal that the two are inseparable.

Why is it that our memories of eating are often so much stronger, more vivid than our memories of anything else? First-grade strawberry birthday popsicles. Peanut-butter-and-jelly, half thrown away. Turkey for Thanksgiving, and then cold turkey the whole week after. I don’t remember, really, what dress I wore to the birthday; I don’t remember what I did after lunch in the cafeteria, and I can’t recall that year whether or not Grandma was at our house.

It’s not simply that perhaps I have an irregular preoccupation with food; there are for certain a great deal of people with less interest than I in cooking and dining, but then again also a great deal with more. Eating combines the physical with the social, with which the emotional is undeniably inextricable. Food memories are persistent because they involve strong stimulation of all five physical senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching) all centered around a social function or a cultural dictation; eating a meal is both an event and an action and an indication. The food we eat (along with the food that we do not permit ourselves to consume) form little landmarks in our lives.

On a cloudy, chilly, groggy Friday like this, I pull out the warm memory of a feast at summer’s end. It nourishes my soul. It grounds my mind. It pulls me from the dark, floating, philosophical clouds above, to the concrete, Epicurean joys of physical Earth.

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During lunch break I came upon this article by one of favorite chefs Mark Bittman, which is actually a follow up to his original article, Got Milk? You Don’t Need It. Basically, Bittman talks about how we don’t really need to drink milk or eat dairy, which can actually cause many health problems in adults, but it’s become a staple due to aggressive marketing, the Big Dairy Industry, the Government, etc. etc.

Note that I said Mark Bittman was one of my favorite chefs and not writers, because unlike his remarkably simple, clear and delicious recipes, I feel that he could execute his words with a bit more tact. Bittman is known for being a pioneer in food activism, and I am in fact a big supporter with many (if not all) of the causes he champions, which are really integral to making Americans more aware of their detrimental consumptions. I’m definitely of his no-milk stance, as I’ve never really enjoyed drinking milk either, and have found it to cause me stomach upset. (Now, ice cream, that’s a different story. Total addict!)

But it’s really hard for me to stomach (ha ha) any writing that uses personal anectodes to prove a potentially scientific point, which dairy intolerance most certainly is. Writing something as such will only lead to dozens (in this case, literally thousands!) of comments from psuedo-experts, quack doctors, crotchety old men/women who grew up with the slogan 3-a-day, etc. I’m not about to go all stubborn scientist on you, but look, as someone who studies Computer Science in an Engineering school maybe (just maybe) I’m a little bit of a hard-science snob with a capital S.

All in all, though, I’m not really too miffed, since I do like Bittman’s food, and I definitely think this blind American reverence of dairy as some kind of wholesome food of the gods can’t be so hot. And hey, if the goal was reverse-psychology, it’s definitely done it’s trick: nothing like a good dose of pseudo-science to get me all riled up and spreading the word. Such a potentially strong statement definitely deserves some thorough research.

Random nerd rant of the day:
What’s the deal with HTML and whitespace? It always bothers me to no end that the assignment operator (=) is stuck right next to the variable, like <div id=”value”>. (Why not div id = “value”?).  I’m no expert of HTML style & syntax but it seems to be the norm. (And, for good measure, a little comic that’s semi-related).

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